Mr. De Long to Mr. Seward.
Sir: I have the honor to inform you that two secessionists, commissioned by the. captain of the pirate steamer Sumter, were landed here yesterday from a merchant French steamer, Ville de Malaga, proceeding from Gibraltar on their route to Cadiz, to purchase coal to supply the Sumter, which is still in the port of Gibraltar, uncoaled.
One of these men, I am informed, is a lieutenant of the Sumter; the other, Mr. Tunstall, who has been acting as United States consul at Cadiz, up to some time last summer, and was intending to return to the southern States on board of the Sumter.
Having received this information from what I considered reliable authority, I made application to the Moorish authorities for soldiers, and had them arrested at the beach, at about 4 o’clock in the afternoon of yesterday, as they were about to return to the steamer to proceed to Cadiz.
They are now confined in one of the rooms of the United States consulate, awaiting the arrival of the Tuscarora, which is expected to morrow, as I wish to place them in the charge of the commander, to be conveyed by him to the United States on his retnrn
During the progress of these proceedings I overheard Tunstall calling his friend Myers, and in a note that he gave to one of the soldiers to be conveyed to a friend of his, at the English hotel, by the name of Harrison, a lieutenant in the English navy, which I objected to be delivered, he signed the initials “H. M.” I then referred to the United States Navy Register for the year 1861, and found, in page 46, that a man by the name of Henry Myers was commissioned paymaster, with the rank of lieutenant, on the 21st day of June, 1854, and was a citizen of the State of Georgia at the time.
During a conversation I had with Tunstall he informed me that his comrade was a citizen of Georgia; consequently all these circumstances induced me to the belief that the aforementioned prisoner in question was the identical Henry Myers.
I had no way to confine them safely without putting them in irons, and even then I have to keep four soldiers guarding them day and night.
They applied for French protection, on the ground that they came to this place on board of a French steamer, but the French consul’s reply was, that as soon as they left the steamer, and landed on Moorish territory, he had no right to protect them, nor to interfere in any way whatever.
They then claimed an interview with the British minister, Mr. Drummond Hay; but this gentleman called on me, and inquired if I was aware of my prisoners having requested an interview with him. I answered, no. I said to him, “Mr. Hay, I know you to be a gentleman, and if you desire to see the prisoners you can do so.” He replied promptly that he did not. First, he said, he had no power to interfere; secondly, his government had given positive instructions to all their ministers and agents to observe strict neutrality.[Page 860]
I must add that the Moorish authorities are entitled to great credit for their prompt assistance in aiding the arrest of these men.
I must not omit also the confidential interpreter of this consulate, Mr. Morris Pariute, who acted with great energy and activity in the capture of these men.
American citizens may talk and plot treason and rebellion at home, if they can, but they shall not do so where I am, if I have the power to prevent it.
Hoping the government will approve of what I have done in this matter, I have the honor to be, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. Wm. H. Seward, Secretary of State.